Tobit Vandamme

Tobit Vandamme
Ghent University | UGhent · Department of History



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Citations since 2016
5 Research Items
10 Citations
Holder of a PhD in History on Belgian multinationals in the making of the first global economy: the business empire of Edouard Empain (1880-1914)
Skills and Expertise
Additional affiliations
October 2015 - September 2019
Ghent University
  • PhD Student
September 2013 - June 2015
Universität Heidelberg
Field of study
  • History
September 2013 - June 2015
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
Field of study
  • Social Sciences (History)
September 2010 - June 2013


Publications (5)
Full-text available
Kijkend door de ogen van een internationale ondernemer verschaft dit doctoraat inzicht in een cruciale periode in de wereldgeschiedenis: de Eerste Wereldeconomie (1870-1914). Dit onderzoek vertelt tegelijk de geschiedenis van het zakenimperium van de Belg Edouard Empain (1852-1929) en het verhaal van een complex tijdperk gekenmerkt door globaliseri...
Full-text available
As a group of young historians we are strongly convinced that the future of social and economic history will be a collective endeavour that crosses institutional and disciplinary boundaries. Only by means of continuous and intensive interaction (junior) researchers will be able to bring the societal turn to a decisive phase in the next ten years. T...
By the early 1900s, globalization and imperialism had created cosmopolitan cities such as the Chinese treaty port of Shanghai, where foreign minorities lived side by side. The outbreak of the First World War put enormous pressure on these multiethnic urban societies. By exploring how the war altered the cohabitation of Westerners in Shanghai, this...


Cited By


Project (1)
In the four decades before the First World War, the world increasingly globalized, both economically, politically and culturally. A highly connected economy integrated distant parts of the world into one global market. Taking the Empain group as a case allows me to study Belgian businessmen and their multinational enterprises in the pre-WWI global economy from a business perspective. In this entangled world, what role could Edouard Empain, a prominent Belgian entrepreneur, play exactly? Building on financial sources and archive-based case studies, the dissertation focuses on economic opportunities, the role of nationality, the personal network as well as on corporate structure and control as determinants for Empain’s success. On the one hand, this research will investigate how Belgian business managed to be part of the global expansion wave in the decades before the First World War, despite its powerful imperial competitors. On the other hand, it will explore how Belgian multinationals, like their foreign counterparts, actively contributed to the establishment of a global market.